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A United Mid-Century Makeover

Design, General, Industry News September 19th 2016

The UN building in New York has been going through a refurbishment over the last few months and the United Nation’s General Assembly’s Office has been a focal point over the last few weeks due to the incorporation of mid-century Danish design.

Several furniture pieces have been donated by the “Republic of Fitz Hansen” wanting to keep to a theme, embracing the Danish heritage of furniture design. The office is currently occupied by the President of the UN, Mogens Lykketoft, who is Danish himself.

The building in which the UN resides was built in 1952 in New York The majority of the furniture components that were chosen to be incorporated within the makeover, are items that have been interior design favourites since the 1950s. The time period chosen reflects the time that the building was constructed.

The UN has made a timeless impact on the World since it was set up and so too have the featured furniture designs. The combination of both of these is reiterated throughout one of the most important offices in the building, leaving an everlasting effect.

One of the main mid-century Danish seating marvels that have been donated is the “Swan Chair”, designed by Modernist designer and architect Anne Jacobsen. The Swan chair has been an interior design favourite since its debut in 1958. The curvaceous design of the chair creates a fantastic centre piece within the office. A great mix between a classic style creating a contemporary look.

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Another Modernist designer who has played a role in the refurbishment is Poul Kjaerholm. His “PK31 Modular sofa and armchair” have been donated to create a seating area. The seating arrangements are complemented by the wood topped “PK51 desk” (1957) and “PK61 glass coffee tables” (1955) to complete the set.

Behind the PK51 executive desk there is a high back version of Jacobson’s “Oxford Chair” (originally designed in 1965 for St. Catherine’s College in Oxford), upholstered in the same leather finish as the Swan chairs to continue the flow of traditional colour choices.

Dignitaries who have the honour of convening with the President have the privilege of sitting on a “Series 7” plywood chair. The Series 7 chairs are a more recent design (1995), designed by Fritz Hansen. Using a more recent chair could be an emphasis on the ongoing legacy that both the UN and the design of the furniture piece have been achieving over the years.

A United Mid-Century Makeover image 2

Commenting on the makeover, Lykketoft told “Dezeen”:

“I really dreamed about changing the dark, heavy, ordinary UN furniture here with something as delicious as this”.

The purpose of choosing the neutral colours was to ensure that main they would to coincide with the wall panelling in the office, gifted to them by Australia. Judging from the images, this was certainly achieved! The neutral colour choice will also ensure that the office will remain timelessly fashionable for the future, continuing a legacy.

“To have a really beautiful Danish imprint on this office for the future will give a glimpse of the best of Danish furniture design for anyone coming inside the President’s office in the future”.

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